Mike Gabler Cheese Balls

Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.

After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.

At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.

The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.

Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.

Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.

Enjoy!

Mike Gabler Cheese Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni pasta
¼ cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. If you have a go to mac and cheese recipe use that, but I generally bounce between Mickey Rooney Cheese or Rohan Maclaren Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.

When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.


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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the non-merged tribe officially merged and immediately new factions were formed. Jeanine was feeling left out given her closest ally was blindsided, though Noelle and Dwight assured her that it will only free her up to play a better game. Sadly for her though, Jesse and Cody were becoming nervous of their fellow Vesi’s growing power and were ready to make a move. After Gabler took out immunity and James found the Knowledge is Power advantage, chaos ensued leading to many a name being thrown out and advantages trading hands to avoid being stolen by James, resulting in Dwight’s exit.

With poor Jeanine’s idol in her pocket, no less!

Back at camp Cody and Jesse were thrilled to have taken control with the Cocos, but were kinda shocked that Sami had joined them. Unaware that he is somehow now in the majority. Talk turned to the fact that James’ Knowledge is Power led to a game of advantage roulette and how confusing it was, with Jeanine particularly heartbroken to lose not just an ally but her idol. Sami tried to play damage control with Owen and Jeanine, assuring them that he only flipped because he knew it was a done deal and as such, he wanted to earn the majority’s trust. Oh and he assured Jeanine that now she is idolless it only makes working with her more enticing. Sami then spread the word that Jeanine’s idol went out of the game alongside Dwight before Jesse surprised us by announcing that he had actually collected Jeanine’s idol and given he also has Cody’s, he is holding all the power now. Specifically two idols.

Secretly, which is important given the Knowledge is Power is in play.

The next day Karla and Jesse were bonding over their Latino heritage before Owen opened up to them about how he was originally born in Korea and adopted at 4 months old. He spoke about how growing up he felt like an outsider and that being left out of two votes in a row, it was bringing up trauma. Though trust and believe he was going to try and find those cracks and take control with some other underdogs. He immediately caught up with Noelle and Jeanine to talk about who to align with, with Jeanine hopeful in their chances with Gabler while Noelle wasn’t so sure the seven that voted together the night before will stick together for long. Jesse, Karla, Cassidy and James caught up, hopeful that they would be able to stick together, with James wanting them to target Owen next given he voted for him at the first merge tribal.

The groups game together, with Karla opening up about her dreams about Probst making ramen during a gross food challenge and then crowd surfing. While it was weird, it got everyone talking about food and how damn hungry they were, fantasising about new food combinations and well, this is why Probst drags me to Fiji twice a year, I guess. Rather than just talking about food, Ryan went to go find some, fishing for hours to feed the tribe and make sure everyone was well fed. And therefore a little reliant on him. He opened up to Gabler about how proud of himself he is, particularly for a kid that grew up with CP and as such he is hopeful being a provider counteracts the fact he is a massive physical threat. After locking in his place in the alliance of seven, Sami approached the outsiders to try and align with them, given going to the end with the others is far more risky. He then returned to Jesse and James to keep them feeling about aligning with him, but trust, he was ready to make a move.

The tribe reconnected with Jeffrey where they would each have to balance a ball on a disc on the end of a tall pole, with the last one standing taking out immunity and guaranteeing their place in the top ten. Before getting to the challenge though, Jeff offered the tribe a bag of rice if five people were to sit out of the challenge and if nobody takes it, it will only be more expensive. Thankfully James, Sami, Jesse, Cassidy and Karla opted to sit out for the rice, despite James trying to assure Owen that he is TOTALLY safe if he were to sit out. Which is definitely not the case. The six players lined up for the challenge with Jeanine and Noelle dropping back to back when adding their third length of pole. Gabler dropped on the next round, Ryan dropped on the next before Cody dropped out of nowhere on the next transition, handing Owen a much needed victory.

Back at camp Owen was thrilled to have some much needed safety because despite the fact the 7 may not stay aligned, he is still on the bottom. As evidenced by James assuring him he is good. Gabler meanwhile was just trying to keep himself safe, hanging around Ryan and James as they locked in the vote against Jeanine. Ryan went person to person to fill them in on the vote, trying to get things unanimous before disappearing to fish for everyone to remind them how great eating is. Cody and Jesse meanwhile were confident that getting rid of Jeanine was the best for everyone, while Sami kicked it into high gear to save his fellow Baka, as such, floating Ryan as another option.

Knowing he had to play things carefully, he floated whether getting rid of Ryan makes sense to Karla. And while she was obviously keen, she knew it would be a tough sell with the rest of the alliance. Particularly since he is spending his afternoon fishing, rather than strategising with his allies. The Ryan vote spread like wildfire with Jeanine growing hopeful that she would be saved, until Cody and James started to turn things back around. James then went person to person, with Cassidy in particular frustrated to see yet another woman voted out particularly since she is clearly a sitting duck  and they will be able to get rid of her whenever. Oh and Ryan has burnt her multiple times, whereas Jeanine hasn’t.

At tribal council Jeff spoke about how each season has a unique vibe, with Gabler talking about theirs being focused on the social connections. While Karla countered that while the social games have been subtle, eventually someone has to make moves to claim victory. Ryan meanwhile suggested everyone was laying low for now and just enjoying themselves, while Owen admitted he doesn’t care what happens as long as he is voting with the group. Sami pointed out that the last two votes have been blindsides, while Cassidy reminded everyone that subtle games aren’t weak and James suggested everything is fluid within the game.

Jeanine opened up about trying to go with the momentum and keep navigating around the uncertainty, while Gabler was concerned about how quickly things change. Cody admitted he is nervous whenever he feels safe, while Ryan reminded everyone he caught 21 fish today. Jeanine spoke about not feeling safe, at all, given she was on the bottom last tribal, though was hopeful to trust her gut before Cody spoke about distances and reading body language and well, I was confused. As was Sami, given he was expecting everything to blow up pretty soon whether they were feeling safe or not. With that the tribe voted and despite their best efforts to feel Ryan, poor Jeanine found herself exiting the game as the Queen of the Jury.

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

As soon as she arrived at the freshly transformed Ponderosa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a game well played. I told her that I was concerned that the women were having such a tough time this season due to the back-to-back success of Erika and Maryanne, and as such, there is an element of her being screwed by what was fresh in everyone’s mind. Which proved to be enough to dull the pain. Although maybe it was the piping hot Pork Jeanine Schzheng that made her feel better?

Delicate, melt in your mouth pork, coated in a gloriously crunchy crust, this little schnitty is perfect – particularly with some Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to wash it down! Add in a little mash and you have a comforting meal, easy enough to slot into your mid-week rotation.

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 pork steaks, flattened to about 2cm thick
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for fryin’
lemon, mash and Dwight Moorshroom Gravy, to serve

Method
Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature while you prepare your crumb. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic in one bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, the egg in another and flour in a third.

Dip the pork in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the crumb.

Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the schnitzels for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a further few minutes or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked through.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, some mash and a generous amount of Dwight’s gravy. And then devour.


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Crumbed Lady Camdenbert

Cheese, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the Season 14 queens came together to rehash the drama of the season. Obviously most of it revolved around Daya Betty and her bitterness, until Jorgeous stopped punching the ghosts and instead gave her a one-two punch with Jasmine. Not to be outdone by her queer sisters, Miss Maddy Morphosis was a shade canon and ideally, booked herself a ticket on an upcoming All Stars season. I mean, he did win the golden boot of the season. Most importantly of all though, is the fact that Kornbread dressed as Willow’s entrance look which was V important, alongside the fact we are down to five and finally ready to crown a winner.

We kicked off proceedings with a Viva Drag Vegas runway where June was absolute perfection, dripping in gold. Alyssa gave jungle flamenco and was oh so expensive. Kornbread was once again a star as beauty AND the beast, Orion was a glamour dragon, Maddy rocked lady Elvis chic, Kerri came as her iconic, mother-tucking Tranos meme, Jasmine gave full baby Alyssa Edwards realness, DeJa served Alexis Mateo realness and Jorgeous was a classic silver showgirl. Then the top five arrived with Angeria stunning and stopping the show in blue, Bosco was a glamour demon, Daya gave bubblegum burlesque realness, Lady Camden was a perfect pink horse and cart before Willow stole the show in red with a blade for an arm.

Oh and then Ru straight up lowered from the ceiling surrounded by a fan of chocolate bars and the zaddy pit crew. And this, is queer culture people.

Ru opened the show announcing that once again it is chocolate, before getting to the format of this ‘ere finale where the top five would face off in a Showgirl Showdown. First the dolls would each do a solo performance to a song they feel speaks to their vibe. From that, Ru and Michelle – or just Ru, TBH – would select a top two with that duo then lip syncing for the crown. Oh and then Michelle arrived and gave Ru the key to the city in honour of April 22 being declared RuPaul day in Las Vegas. Everybody say love!

Up first was the one and only, the iconic, Angeria Paris Van Michaels! And girl, her original Check My Track Record was perfection from start to finish. She looked perfect, she was silly and camp, she hit every move and every letter. And well, the pit crew in gold lame were just as stunning as I needed them to be. In the Q&A portion of the evening, Angeria leaned into her country charm and was a ball of pure delight. Living for the fame and just loving everything that was coming her way. Oh and then her dad announced she won her first crown in kindergarten and, of course! And then he encouraged parents to just love and support their kids and I love her parents too. We bounced back to Angeria who said that above all else, drag taught her that you can do anything you put your mind to.

When it came to Bosco, her song Devil was creepy and kooky and well, she looked stunning. She slowly revealed herself from being an angel to a full blown – word of the day – demon, complete with bloody mouth and well, I lived for her. She opened up to Ru about how drag helped take her to different places. She shared how shocked she was to leave the race with a sisterhood when she didn’t think that would happen. Bosco’s boyfriend and her dear friend Lucy were there in the crowd and were so silly and cute while Bosco was grateful for drag teaching her exactly who she wants to be.

Daya’s performance was kinda hypnotic, as she emerged from a cocoon to be a full blown blue and orange bug and well, it was stunning. Days spoke about how she grew up determined to take out the win and that Crystal encouraged her to grow a mullet before the show. She told Ru that her passion was to do weird shit and be bold. Her boyfriend Tanner and the third Methyd sister were so proud to see her make it to the finale, before she encouraged everyone watching to always get back up and fight through things.

Lady Camden’s I Fell Down (I Got Back Up) was silly, operatic and well, damn show stopping. She gave high heel ballet, served reveals and well, she needs to be in the top. Camden opened up about her passion for theatrics from her childhood to now and how much she loves Queen. Oh and if she had her time over, she would be herself from the very start. Camden’s mother and drag mother were an adorable comedy duo, bantering with Ru and being cute. Oh and Camden is now vers, or something?

Rounding out the individual performances, Willow’s song I Hate People was wacky and wonderful. And oh so relatable. I mean, who doesn’t hate people? She then revealed two extra heads on her shoulders and a fourth in her panties and well, crown her now. She is a damn star! Her Q&A with Ru was silly, fun and charming, with Ru clearly delighting in her silliness as she introduced the extra faces as Carson, Ross and Michelle in her panties. Oh and she was so proud to have come into the women she is. Her mum and sister were super chill and friendly, giving all the support and I love them. Particularly when the sister read Ru about the H&M disaster. By the time Willow explained drag was just mental illness and rhinestones, there was no way she was losing the crown.

Jaida, Kameron, Trinity, Derrick, Kahana and Naomi – aka the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race Las Vegas Live – took the stage to perform losing is the new winning and girl, it was a good ad. Particularly as the eliminated queens joined them. Oh and then we celebrated the iconic Queen of Vegas, Hot Chocolate. And ugh, I love her too! Can they do a legends season with her, Bunny, Coco Peru, Dame Edna and Vanessa Wagner?

The top five returned to the stage where they learnt, via roulette wheel no less, that the top two are none other than Lady Camden and Willow Pill. Which makes me infinitely happier with my choice to go alphabetically with recipes, rather than reverse.

As the top two went backstage to get ready for the final lip sync, the eliminated queens were joined by the iconic Symone who looked PERFECT. She was then joined by Lala Ri who looked stunning in a chandelier looking gown with nary a bag in sight as she quickly handed the Miss Congeniality baton over to Kornbread and ugh, I live, I am so happy for her.

But now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Lady Camden and Willow Pill took the stage for their final lip sync. Willow wearing a hilariously oversized pinstripe suit for, no doubt, some reveals.  While Camden’s were far better hidden in a royal ballet outfit. As soon as Cher’s version of Gimme Gimme Gimme kicked off, both the queens played into their strengths. Camden was emotional and gave all the clean lines while Willow was stupid and fun, shaking off her jacket and revealing her outfit was just massive pants. She then duck-walked the stage before her final reveal while Camden tried to repeat the Freddy Mercury reveal, this time sadly getting the wigs caught. In any event, they both fought valiantly, bouncing off each other and having the most damn fun.

Sadly though, there can only be one winner – well, except for our twinners Monet and Trinity – and despite a strong showing from Camden, it was Willow Pill who rightly took home the crown. 

Despite losing the competition, Camden was an absolute delight backstage. Though since the runner-up now gets cash, I guess that makes sense. Oh and the fact she has won more money than every Drag Race UK winner combined, probably doesn’t hurt. Plus, she had an epic, iconic run and while she started off quiet, once she came out of her shell, she stole the damn show. Making her not only the perfect runner-up or future All Stars winner, but recipient of a congratulatory batch of Crumbed Lady Camdenbert.

Crunchy and crisp on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, this is the ultimate comfort food. And more importantly super easy – a couple of cut, a quick crumb and fry and you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Crumbed Lady Camdenbert
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
⅓ cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
200g camembert cheese, cut into 12 wedges
vegetable oil, to deep-fry

Method
Pop the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs into their own bowls. Coat the camembert in the flour, skating off the excess before dipping in the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Pressing firmly to coat, before popping on a lined plate.

Pour about 6cm deep oil in a medium pan and place over medium-high heat, and once hot, cook in batches for a couple of minutes, or until crisp and gooey. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until they are all done. Then devour, regally.


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Chicken Dianiel Strunk

Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor despite blowing up his game at tribal council as he threw anyone and everyone under the bus, Daniel opted against apologising to his former allies. While they were all busy forming bonds with each other despite the fact they had just tried to vote each other out. Taku continued their winning streak before Ika narrowly lost the immunity challenge, leading to absolute chaos back at camp. Despite wanting to work together, both Tori and Swati busily tried to turn the tribe on the other. Then at tribal council, Swati played her Shot in the Dark and once again, it came up without safety and she found herself booted from the game. While a shocked Rocksroy looked ready to explode with rage.

Back at camp Tori was very grateful to still be in the game while Rocksroy tried to stay calm and find out what the hell changed between camp and tribal council to result in Swati going home. Romeo explained that she was busy playing both sides with Rocksroy appearing to be genuinely grateful to them for taking her out, while suggesting he can ride their social coattails through the game as a strong four. Which is something that Tori has zero interest in, instead looking to jump ship ASAP as she pulled faces about him in the dark.

The next day Maryanne was busy gloating about how great she is at Mario Kart at Taku, with her and Lindsay’s incessant conversation driving Jonathan absolutely mental as he desperately wished for a moment of peace and quiet. And well, the editors definitely picked the best clip to highlight this because even I was confused and frustrated and i’m a Chatty Cathy myself! Instead of completely blowing up, he got to work fishing and chopping wood until Maryanne popped her foot under the bamboo he was cutting and she made a very big deal about it. While they tried to clear the air, it was clear things were going nowhere so Jonathan instead suggested they just move on. And then went to the well with Lindsay and suggested they get rid of Maryanne should they go back to tribal council, given she is annoying. Which is what Maryanne was telling Omar she was worried about at that very moment, while he just wished everyone would get along!

Meanwhile over at Vati Hai was nervous about lingering tensions, knowing that he is still well and truly on the bottom of the tribe. Daniel and Chanelle were busy assuring each other that their last tribal council won’t come between them as they know they need each other, while Hai and Lydia caught up to figure out how they will get themselves out of the minority and make the merge. Just like that, Daniel tried his hand at fishing which allowed Hai and Lydia to question how he was able to fish for the tribe given he keeps sitting out of the swimming challenges due to his dislocated shoulder. Which well and truly pissed off Mike once the duo pointed it out to him.

Back at Ika, Drea and Romeo were busy trying to find their as-yet-unfound idol, with Romeo opening up to us about how he wanted to align with Drea initially because he wants to support strong women in honour of his mum. And the women he coaches to pageant glory back at home. Right on cue Drea then found the Ika idol, celebrating how advantage rich with advantages she is and knowing that Maryanne already has the Taku idol, it means she could have an active idol very quickly.

To womp-womp that though, we pivoted back to Vati however, where Mike was assuring the tribe that he has no plans to activate his idol at the immunity challenge given the idol is automatically powered at the merge and at which point he also gets his vote back. Which must be in very fine print because that has never been mentioned before.

We obviously then headed to meet up with Probst for the immunity challenge where Maryanne opened the show with her bunny line. Drea skillfully spoke about her potato-ness before Mike gagged even me by saying his damn line, activating all of their idols and locking in everyone’s vote for the tribal council ahead. But first, the immunity challenge, where each tribe would race up and over a net and untangle ropes to release a key. Then unlock a machete, chop free some sandbags and then knock over targets. Oh and the winning tribes would also get a tarp.

Following Sandra’s lead, Daniel once again sat out as Ika got out to a very early lead as Taku nipped at their heels. While calling out Jonathan for being a beast last week, it was Tori that absolutely dominated the challenge, burning through the key and machete portion giving Ika a huge advantage shooting at the targets. As Omar made Taku fall further and further behind, Ika took out the first immunity while Vati started shooting at their targets. Sadly for them, Taku finally joined them with Jonathan quickly knocking out the targets and narrowly taking out immunity for the tribe.

Ika then got to select someone from Vati to go on the special journey, opting for Lydia, with their very own Rocksroy offering to be the one to join her. 

Back at camp Hai reminded everyone that they are a family and to keep that in mind while they scramble. Daniel admitted that he felt nervous and asked for everyone to meet with him, which is a sentiment that Chanelle echoed. As Hai and Daniel caught up, the former admitted that he believes Chanelle is the least trustworthy of the two and that she is the most likely to flip come merge. Mike and Chanelle meanwhile were busy locking in the vote against Daniel. We finally got a clearer picture of things as Mike and Hai caught up, debating the merits of each of them while they both agreed that it is critical that Lydia holds on to her vote on the journey.

Speaking of which, Rocksroy and Lydia were in awe of their surroundings as they climbed the mountain, with Lydia sharing that the game has truly changed her as a person and made her feel more confident in her own skin. At the top Rocksroy tried to find out who would be the target on Vati, while Lydia tried to dance around the facts and admitted that she wouldn’t be shocked if she was in trouble again. Both of them admitted to us that neither had any interest in sharing too much information about their respective tribes and as such, the awkward as hell conversation made a lot more sense. After splitting up, the duo faced their dilemma with Rocksroy worried about Lydia’s nerves getting the best of her and as such, opted to protect his vote. Which is the same decision she made, given her PTSD from their last tribal.

Lydia returned to camp and quickly admitted that she felt there was too much at stake to risk her vote. She then caught up with everyone one by one to figure out what she missed with both Chanelle and Daniel pledging their undying loyalty and praising her for being in charge. Thankfully Hai gave her the real run down and assured her that they are safe and not to worry.

At tribal council Mike admitted that while somebody had to go home tonight, they are still a strong unit. Daniel praised him for being such a team player which is necessary at certain points during the game. Hai said that while they may be tight, somebody has to be being lied to right now given they still need for someone to go home. Daniel pointed out that Mike means the tribe are a team until the end of their lives, not just the game which made Chanelle point out that he is clearly playing into Mike’s affection for him. Lydia meanwhile pointed out that after tonight, each tribe will have four people remaining and should they merge next week, they need to guarantee their four is a solid one. Which is a sentiment echoed by Hai and Daniel, while Mike reiterated that his vote is based on game and he still cares for the person getting booted.

With that the tribe voted and somehow was split 2-2-1 between Chanelle and Daniel, with a random vote cast against Mike. Mike, Hai and Lydia then revoted and officially sent Daniel out of the game. While Mike angrily acknowledged Chanelle’s vote against him.

As soon as Daniel arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug which elicited massive screams from the sweetheart as I held tight on his busted shoulder. Proving definitively that yeah, he hurt! Given Daniel is a delightful superfan, however, he took that and his boot in stride, grateful to not just have had the opportunity to play the game, but also to get culinary comfort from me in the form of some Chicken Dianiel Strunk.

Yeah, yeah, Steak Diane Keaton is great – and oh so kitsch – but have you ever tried it with a chicken rissole? Because damn, does it taste good. Packing a lightly herbaceous punch, the juicy rissoles pair perfectly with the diane sauce to create a delicious and quick meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Dianiel Strunk
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly whisked
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnishing
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
⅔ cup cream
roughly chopped parsley, to serve

Method
Combine the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, shallots, egg, parsley and half the Dijon and Worcestershire in a bowl. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Divide into 8 rissoles, pop on a lined plate and cover with cling. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once the rissoles are holding it together, heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook half the rissoles at a time, cooking for a few minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Transfer to a lined baking tray and pop into the oven to keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and saute the onion over low heat for five to ten minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before stirring through the tomato paste and the remaining Dijon mustard and Worcestershire with half a cup of water. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until gloriously fragrant, before stirring in the cream.

Remove the rissoles from the oven and pop them into the pan to simmer for a further fifteen minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glorious. Sprinkle with the extra parsley and serve immediately, ideally with a glorious mash for optimal devouring.


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Arielcini Rec

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race España we were blessed with a batch of twelve new iconic queens who had me gagged by their talents. And flooded my basement with their beauty. After a sultry, artistic nude-illusion photo shoot with the pit crew, the dolls rocked two looks dedicated to their hometowns on the runway. Poor Marisa and Samantha fell a little flat while Onyx took flight. Though more importantly, Marina flashed her penis on the runway which is more than worthy of a win in my books. Ultimately though it was Onyx who took out the first victory of the season while Samantha and Marisa battled in the lip sync, with the latter finding herself becoming the Porkchop of the season.

Backstage Samantha was gagged to have survived the lip sync while her sisters gathered around to congratulate her on her performance. After toasting to their sister Marisa, they sat down and rightly praised Onyx for her showstopping runways, who for some reason, was shocked to have taken out victory. Though grateful that her arse carried her to victory. Once again. The dolls spoke about how intense it is to be judged, admitting that the experience has well and truly woken them up to the fact that this is a damn competition. While Sharonne did some demonic vocalising which was as scary as it was erotic. For some reason.

The next day the dolls were back to living their best lives, taking it in turns to ride Estrella like a horse before she showed off her goodies on the table. And someone grabbed at her balls, which isn’t necessary to the story but will play on a loop in my head longer than the Oscars slap has. Wait, no, that one will never die.

Samantha meanwhile was ready to claim the title of lip sync assassin of the season, truly turning the lemon that is being the only queen to have lip synced so far into lemonade. Talk then turned to the burgeoning love between Drag Sethlas and Onyx, and yeah, I want to see that video. Before we could get any of the juicy, juicy details, Supremme arrived to task the girls with a little light reading. Si, la biblioteca is well and truly open and well, if all librarians looked like the pit crew, I would perpetually be dehydrated. First up was Sharonne who was hilarious and quick, Venedita was harsh, Sethlas went in on Estrella’s twirls, Onyx made the girls blush and then Estrella stole the show with some Harry Potter (non-transphobic) magic. Samantha bombed, Jota was even worse while Diamante brought the laughs back. Sweet Juriji was perfectly brutal before Ariel just flooded my basement and I don’t even know if she was good or bad because she is so damn hot. 

Oh and then Marina was read while trying to read. Did I mention Ariel is fucking hot?

Ultimately Sharonne took out victory before Supremme announced that they would be following up the reading challenge by putting on the Supremme Eleganza Talent Extravaganza in front of a live audience of surprise guests. Which Diamante immediately decided would be the Spice Girls. Dream big, I guess? Everyone split up to start planning their talents with Samantha a little bit terrified while Estrella was thinking of going the comedy route. Ariel meanwhile had too many talents to choose from, while Sethlas was hoping to not incite any controversy like she had in the past when she did a performance crucifying herself.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with everyone splitting up to beat their mugs ahead of the show with Ariel and Onyx bonding over their journeys with therapy and how it has helped them throughout their lives. Onyx opened up about how the pandemic broke her, with her partner leaving her around the time she lost her job, so she ultimately had to move back in with her parents. Thankfully they rallied around and reminded each other that seeking help is always the best idea.

Supreme, Ana and the Javiers were joined by La Zowi on the judging panel, while the cast of season 1 returned to watch the dolls perform. Drag Sethlas opened the show as a straight up transformer and well, I lived. She then vogued the house down before jumping from there, aka splitting from a massive box. Jota Carajota meanwhile went full Phantom of the Opera before singing a camp original song and well, I think I loved it. Ariel Rec did a moody original song and honestly, I just wished she stripped and called it a day. Because again, he keeps me drenched. Juriji gave a camp opera and damn, she has pipes. And the back-up dancers were in harnesses, so yeah, give her the win right damn now. 

Samantha Ballentines then painted a picture of one of the hottest pit crew members – which was just a penis – so obviously I now want her to win the challenge. I mean, I can’t. Venedita Von Dash went from peasant to glamazon as she flamenco’d around stage in a strip show. And again, basement. Flooded. Onyx cracked out of an egg before giving an alien lip sync and well, it was weird and wonderful. Particularly since she birthed her baby on stage, which is something I always love. Particularly if it is sliced ham. Marina gave us a moody midnight ballroom dance and damn, she’s got some legs on her. Estrella then slayed a camp lip sync in honour of fast mood, which is super relatable. Complete with mustard coming out of her titties. Sharonne then stole the show with a live jazz duet, complete with puppeteering her partner. Before Diamante Merrybrown slayed a lip sync, dancing the house down however coming after Sharonne, it was hard to steal the show.

On the Day of the Beast Runway, Jota was an alien delight, despite the odd body shape. Juriji was a sexy rose bush, Ariel was a sexy sleep paralysis demon – complete with blue blood and growing sores – while Samantha Ballentines served the most demented plastic surgery addict ever seen. Venedita was a bleeding mummy, Onyx was breathtaking as a massive spider and Marina gave us a two faced woman, half covered in burns. Sethlas gave demon llama, Sharonne was a kooky spooky voodoo doll while Estrella was a demented mirror queen and Diamante slayed as a hessian boogeyman. 

Ultimately Sethlas, Ariel, Onyx, Sharonne, Samantha and Diamante were classed as the tops and bottoms of the week, leaving the rest of the dolls to untuck while they received their critiques. The judges were happy with Ariel’s performance though felt like she wasn’t on the same level as her sisters in either the performance or the runway. Samantha was read for not slaying the performance and lacking originality while Onyx received universal praise for her performance and the runway, despite some pacing issues in the former. Sethlas was praised for splitting her kitty before Sharonne received universal praise for each and every thing that she served this week. Oh and the judges lived for Diamante too, so I guess Onyx is low, somehow?

Backstage the safe girls were relieved to be deemed safe though opted to get shady over who would be in the bottom, suggesting Sharonne should be. Which, lol. As the rest of the queens joined them, Samantha announced that she would definitely be in the bottom while Ariel felt like she would be lip syncing against her. Onyx meanwhile shared that she was disappointed her performance didn’t cut through with the judges as Diamante reminded them all that on the whole – swoon – they served a killer fashion show.

Ultimately Diamante was deemed safe before Sharonne took out her first victory of the season. Drag Sethlas was then sent to safety while Onyx narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Samantha Ballentines to lip sync once again. This time against Ariel Rec. As soon as Yo Quiero Bailar kicked off, the fight once against came into Samantha Ballentine as she served demented, wild fun while Ariel focused on turning a show. But given how hysterically everyone was laughing at Samantha, there was no way she was going home as once again she saved herself, leaving poor Ariel Rec to sashay away instead.

And well, her loss was my gain! As soon as we met up backstage, I pledged my undying love for her, thanking her for gracing the planet for her beauty and begging him to spend out lives together. While Ariel didn’t agree to get married, we did have a lot of hot fun. And gladly filled out holes with some even hotter Arielcini Rec.

I know I’ve probably said this countless times but it honestly bears repeating; the only way to make something as delicious as risotto better is by coating it and frying it. Crunchy breadcrumbs form a gloriously golden crust, keeping the cheesy rice piping hot and well, there is nothing better.

Enjoy!

Arielcini Rec
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
350g butternut pumpkin, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup arborio rice
¾ cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
vegetable or sunflower oil, to deep-fry

Method
To make the risotto, pop the stock in a saucepan over low heat and bring to temperature. Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a pot over medium heat and saute the onion and pumpkin for five minutes or so, or until the onion is nice and soft. Add the garlic and rice and cook for a further couple of minutes. 

Working a ladleful of stock at a time, add to the rice mixture and cook stirring until it has just absorbed. Repeat the process until all the stock has been used. Stir through the parmesan, season and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, spread over a lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

Once things are hella chill, pop the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Using wet or floured hands, roll 1-2 tablespoon sized balls of risotto. Pop them first in the flour, then the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Place on another lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done before transferring to the fridge to set for an hour or so.

When it is time to fry, heat a couple of inches deep of oil in a stock pot until about 180C. Working a few at a time, add the arancini and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for another minute or so. Transfer to a lined plate to drain and repeat the process.

Then devour, while still piping hot.


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Zach and Cheese Wurtenberger

Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were dumped on the islands of Fiji where Probst assured us they were in for the same fast-paced, advantage-laden game that last season’s castaways were put through. Ika managed to win the first challenge, locking in their meagre supplies while Taku and Vati had to spend half the first day trying to solve a triangle puzzle. Come day two, Jenny, Drea and Queen Maryanne went on an inter-tribe summit where Jenny’s caution earnt Drea and Maryanne an extra vote each. Things then took a heartbreaking turn as Jeff arrived at the Taku camp to announce that Jackson had to be pulled from the game due to medical reasons.

The tribes reconvened for the first immunity challenge of the season where Ika and Vati were shocked to learn that Jackson had just been medevaced from the game. Given no time to process this tragic turn of event, they jumped straight into the challenge where they would all start out on a platform in the water before racing in a boat and collecting chests along the way. They then would push the chests and boat on a track into the dunes before opening the chests and solving a massive puzzle with the last place finisher going to tribal council and losing their flint. Oh and then Jeff looped them in on the shot in the dark situation which they could each play once, giving them a one in six shot of safety.

Once again, Taku got out to an early lead in the challenge while the others languished in a fight for second place. Well, until Rocksroy dropped Ika’s second chest in the water and they had to lift it back up. Somehow Vati started to close the gap and overtook Taku (and the very ripped Jonathan), getting an early lead on the puzzle. Though puzzles being puzzles, they all managed to work on them at the same time while Ika desperately tried to close the gap. Sadly they proved to be no match for Taku and Vati, who quickly solved their puzzles while Zach had started taking out the pieces Swati had already solved. Though the duo did get a cuddle from Rocksroy, so I say that is kind of a win.

Back at camp Zach quickly apologised for bombing the puzzle, with the tribe reminding him that they win or lose as a team and it is all good. Before they split up to start their scrambling, Tori assured everyone that she does not have an idol and as such, they don’t need to work around that. Tori first caught up with Drea who assured her, the rumour was only about her hunting for an idol not having one before they quickly pivoted to throwing out getting rid of Rocksroy, given he struggled in the challenge. Meanwhile Romeo asked whoever told Tori about the idol rumours to come clean and clear the air before Rocksroy and Swati caught up privately and locked in their votes for Zach.

Drea and Romeo were next to chat with Drea quickly floating Rocks, which annoyed Romeo given the trio are meant to be aligned. Instead, Romeo wanted to take out Tori which made Drea nervous, given she may not even have her vote at tribal after the summit. Zach and Tori were the next duo with both of them openly targeting each other, though denying it before Swati, Romeo and Rocks caught up to potentially get rid of Tori, given Romeo wants to keep Zach around as a skinny shield. Though sadly for him, neither Swati or Rocks seemed interested.

At tribal council Rocksroy spoke about how much harder it is than he ever could have imagined from watching it on the TV. Zach meanwhile was disappointed their shelter wasn’t built in a 90 second montage like you would see on TV, though he was proud of how hard he worked for the tribe. Drea meanwhile was worried about how hard this season would be, though reiterated the importance of having a solid alliance to help navigate things should the worst come to worst. Romeo and Swati agreed that they were nervous and would consider playing their Shot in the Dark if they were on the block. With Swati admitting she would happily cut off her pinky to not be at tribal council.

Zach admitted that it is straight up either him or Tori going home tonight, with Tori talking about how she was trustworthy and getting rid of her would be a bad idea for the tribe. She and Zach argued back and forth about how they went from day one allies to whatever mess they had gotten themselves into. To put an end to the bickering, Jeff sent the tribe off to vote, Zach played his shot in the dark and Drea collected her extra vote. Before Jeff read the votes, Zach revealed his shot in the dark wouldn’t protect him, as the votes piled up on him and sent him out of the game as the second boot.

While Zach was disappointed to be out of the game, he was still feeling giddy from the fact that he had even been given the chance to play. After welcoming him into Loser Lodge, I assured him that in smaller tribes there is nowhere to hide and sometimes, there is just no way to protect yourself in the game. Given I am great at pep talks, that had him feeling great! Or maybe it was the delicious Zach and Cheese Wurtenberger I served up!

I love mac and cheese. I love burgers. AND I love a monstrous hybrid meal, meaning this delight well and truly has my heart. Though given it is a fresh juicy burger with a piping hot mac and cheese puck smacked on top, how could it not.

Enjoy!

Zach and Cheese Wurtenberger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2-4 cups mac and cheese, my preference being Rohan Maclaren Cheese for all its truffle glory
1 cup flour
2 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
8 rashers streaky bacon
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices American cheese
4 Briocher Bunsberg
⅓ cup Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie
4-6 dill pickles, sliced

Method
Start by making your mac and cheese, packet or your favourite home made recipe, no judgement. Place the final product in a lined baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

Pop the flour in one bowl, the egg is another and the breadcrumbs in a final one. Using a ring mould – or say, an egg ring – cut 4 discs out of the mac and cheese. Dip the pasta discs into the flour, followed by the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, until well coated.

Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat and once hot, fry two discs until golden brown. Repeat the process and transfer to a lined baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven. In the still hot pan, fry the bacon until golden and pop on the same baking sheet to keep warm.

Wipe out the skillet and return to the medium heat – obviously being careful not to burn yourself if it is still hot – and scrunch the beef mince in a large bowl until well combined. Form into 4 discs and season one side of each generously with salt and pepper. Pop that side down into the scorching pan and press down with a spatula to flatten before seasoning the top. Cook the patties for a couple of minutes before flipping, topping with a slice of cheese and cooking for a further couple of minutes.

To assemble, lightly toast the inside of each bun, smear with a little of the chipotle ranch and then line the base with pickles. Follow with the patties, then the bacon and finish with the mac and cheese disc. You could also add tomatoes and lettuce to the mix if you want to make it moderately more healthy, but honestly, why?

Then, devour.


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Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the top five fought hard to snag immunity and guarantee this safety, with Hayley once again coming out on top. As such, the tight Brains alliance decided to load all their votes on Flick and rid themselves of the final Brawn. That is until George realised Flick wasn’t hunting for an idol, and as such, he grew paranoid that she already has one. With that he joined Cara and loaded their votes on Wai JIC. While Flick thought she was gagging the rest of the tribe as she played her idol, her sole George vote was rendered useless as the beautiful Queen Wai was sent from the game.

The next day George was lounging about quietly in camp before Cara snuck up and scared the shit out of him. The duo then mucked around all cute like, as they praised their unbreakable bond, grateful to have had each other to navigate the game. Cara desperately wanted the two of them to make it to the end together, but also knew that that would be a very difficult task. 

And well, already this feels like the ads about turning on each other won’t be like SuE’S bIG m0v3!?

Meanwhile Flick and Hayley were tending to camp as Flick shared with us that she is pretty much just planning an immunity run to the end because, well, that’s her only real option. Despite that, she pulled Hayley aside and once again pitched that the two of them join together and break up the duo of George and Cara. And given George is the chattiest of Kathy’s, she thinks he is the biggest threat to both of their final tribal councils. Once again, Hayley agreed that it was a wonderful idea despite intending to stick with the duo should Flick not win the next immunity since she can easily beat the others in the final immunity challenge.

Undeterred, Flick approached Cara and pointed out that she needs to make a move for the jury by taking out George if she wants any chance of winning. And well, Cara was not interested at all. As such, she went for a walk with George with them having a good old laugh about not voting each other out next which TBH does make me more and more nervous. As does the fact George just wants anyone but Flick to win immunity. Which is where this is ending up, right?

The duo quickly worked out that should Flick be immune, it would likely finish in a tie between Hayley and George meaning the duo would need to compete in a fire challenge to continue in the game. Knowing that George has no fire skills at all, Cara pulled him aside and coached him how to use a flint and while it was a bit slapstick at the start, she did prove to be a decent teacher.

Dear Jonathan arrived for the massive final four immunity challenge where the group would face off by racing over a net to collect balls which they will use to release puzzle pieces. They would then build a ladder with the puzzle pieces, untie a bucket and then fill it with water and walk it through hurdles before using the water to release even more balls which they then have to land in a ball puzzle.

Desperate, Flick got out to an early lead, whipping through the challenge as the others just tried to keep up the pace. Hayley overtook her with some killer throws however, quickly building her stairs as Flick and Cara lagged slightly behind. George eventually joined the fun on the stair puzzle as Cara joined Hayley on the bucket section. Well, briefly. As Hayley started landing her balls while Flick finally finished with her stairs. Hayley had landed three balls by the time Flick closed the gap and joined her at the puzzle. As Hayley landed her fourth ball, Cara joined the fun and quickly landed a ball just after Flick. Flick and Cara methodically landed their balls as Hayley grew more and more desperate before Flick slipped in and snatched immunity.

Back at camp Flick was thrilled to finally have a bit of power in the game, before realising that the final immunity challenge is usually endurance and as such, Hayley is the biggest threat to her game. With that in her mind, she approached Cara and quickly locked her in on the Hayley vote.

But all was not lost yet, as Hayley realised she was the biggest threat and Cara and George flipping Flick would send her home immediately. Hayley pulled Flick aside and shared how grateful she was to have spoken the day before, doubling down on the need to get rid of George if any of them want to have a chance at winning. Obviously Flick agreed with this plan too, so off Hayley trotted to chat to Cara where she learned that Flick was playing her and was planning to vote her out as the only threat to winning final immunity. Which obviously panicked Hayley, asking Cara if she was truly considering turning on her. Rather than say, pointing out that Cara needs Hayley there in the final challenge if Cara wants any chance of winning, given Flick has the jury stacked in her favour.

As Cara laughed about the absurdity of Flick suggesting Cara help her win the next challenge, she rightly pointed out that Hayley would take her to the final two if it was the three girls at the end. Hayley reiterated how important it is for Cara to make a move and get rid of George to give herself a shot, but she just wasn’t sure whether she could do it emotionally. Hayley then found George and made the exact same plea to him, pointing out that if he is in the final three with Flick and Cara, he has no shot of making it to the end and has to settle for third place. She then locked in her vote for Cara and told him that she hopes he joins her but understands if he doesn’t. And then up and left him.

George and Cara then caught up, pledging their love for each other and praising each other for the games they have played. They then joined Hayley and the trio gave each other a group hug to celebrate their successes before heading to tribal council for their official break up.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Flick wearing immunity before she shared that it is nice to feel calm and secure after a good week or two of being the target. George admitted that without immunity, Flick would be a goner but instead, one of the close trio is going out. Hayley admitted that while she, Cara and George all have different compelling stories, they need to get to the final two and given neither of them are great in challenges, they need her. She pointed out that Flick is definitely going to win in the final two, given the jury loves her, but their chances are better against her and whoever is in the final three with her and Flick would be the one she would choose to take.

George reminded Cara that Hayley is the ultimate challenge threat, while Cara simply praised Hayley’s killer pitch. George tried to create doubt, pointing out that Hayley winning final immunity is guaranteed if she gets there with Hayley pointing out that that isn’t the worst thing, given Flick beats anyone at the end. Flick pointed out that she will be going strategic with her vote, while George and Cara both said that they would be sticking with their final two leaving poor Hayley to once again reiterate that they need to think beyond three now and instead look to two and who they would have the best shot against.

With that the tribe voted and both George and Care turned on each other, with Hayley banding with George to send Cara out of the game to join the far-better-than-winning Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses Club.

As Cara walked into Jury Villa, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and ran out to pull her in for a big hug. You see, the empath Real Estate community is quite small and as such, Cara and I quickly bonded and became the best of friends. I didn’t tell you I was a Sydney Real Estate Tycoon? Oh, I was. Anyway, Cara and I are dear friends, so I was gutted to see her felled so close to the end. Until I remembered the aforementioned placement as a FPRG, after which, I toasted to her success and whipped up a comforting Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs.

Despite my passion for all things balls, I never got the appeal of Spaghetti and Meatballs as a kid. I think it probably has something to do with the fact I felt there was less sauce involved and as such, resented it. But then I woke up to myself and realised that those big juicy balls, dripping in sauce and covered generously with the sharpest parmesan are perfection. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Enjoy!

Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
100ml milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
500ml passata
100ml water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
500g dried spaghetti

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by combining the minces, four garlic cloves, the egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and milk in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch together until well combined before rolling into 12 large meatballs. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery over medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the oregano, basil, passata, water and sugar. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for 15 minutes.

Once glorious and thick, stir through the meatballs, pop on a lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

While that is simmering, cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions before draining, serving and topping with the big, saucy balls. And then coating in parmesan.

And then devouring.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor – doesn’t it feel good to say that again?! – 24 new castaways Mad Max-ed into outback Queensland to find out whether brains or brawn is what is needed to prevail. They were immediately thrown into a challenge where Brawn destroyed Brains. Though clearly wanting to give the competition a leg up, Simon encouraged the tribe to choose a survival kit as reward because he had fire on lock, which he obviously didn’t. As such, they shivered through the first night. Thankfully for him, he redeemed himself by leading the tribe to victory in the immunity challenge. All hope seemed lost for Wai on the Brains tribe until George found a massive advantage, saved her and four others and then my love Phil found themselves tragically felled as the first boot.

The next day the Brains tribe were slowly trying to process George’s massive move, mainly just glad that they were the ones to survive despite none of the people that remained at tribal being on anyone’s radar. That being said, those that stuck around were angry about how it all played out and as such, vowed to get rid of George at the first possible chance. Wai meanwhile was just shocked to still be in the game and as such, opted to get to work making the most of her second chance by making friendships. First she checked in with George and shared her gratitude that he saved her, with him admitting that he sees potential in her and as such wanted to change both of their destinies. Like a modern day Jesus.

George moved on to Rachel and Georgia and well, Rachel didn’t feel happy about it being saved at tribal given George called her out as weak in explaining his move and as such, she realised that he just wants power and that is it. And well, she isn’t a monarchist, so good luck on him being King. And just like that, she is my queen. Oh and then she went to kiki with Joey and Hayley and well, I ship the hell out of this trio.

Over at the Brawn tribe, poor Simon was still focused on getting fire and well, still wasn’t having much success. I mean, even Queen Dani couldn’t get it going and well, if she can’t, I don’t have hope for any of them. And honestly, everyone’s mood was so down I feel like they mustn’t have any hope either. The Survivor Gods/editors continued to immediately prove me wrong, as Emmett stepped in, confident in his ability to rub sticks together (relatable) which, combined with his plant based diet – direct quote –  did the trick as he earnt everyone’s love by building a fire, despite really leaning the David flair for the theatrical in a less charming way.

My love Jonathan made his return to the screens for today’s reward challenge where the Brawns were gutted to see Phil gone, as they bloody well should be. Still grappling with said shock, they learnt that the challenge would see them facing off one at a time under a net to retrieve a sandbag and then wrestle their opponent to land it in their tribe’s square, with the first to three winning. And given it was for a huge fishing kit, spices, bread, honey and let’s say other misc supplies, everyone was well and truly pumped to fight it out. 

The first duo to face off were pain researcher Hayley and MMA fighter Chelsea and well Chelsea could murder me in my sleep, so I fear for Queen Hayley. Thankfully she had a huge head start thanks to her speed and hot damn, with grit and determination, she snagged the first point for the Brains. Like a boss. Simon then faced off against Dr Mitch, who was carried with the bag by Simon to score a point for Brawns, no doubt to the chagrin of George. Georgia and Dani fought extremely hard before the prison guard snatched the lead for the Brawns, meaning Baden had to beat Gavin to stay alive. Which he did, after the ultimate battle of the zaddies was barely taken out by the Brains. As such, it was up to Emmett or Joey to snatch victory for their tribe and given the way Emmett cockily showboating almost cost them victory, I don’t see this as a good advertisement for a plant based diet or his stocks in the game.

But anyway, Brawn won again and I need the underdogs to score a win in the immunity challenge otherwise this will get old very quickly.

Back at the Brawn camp, the tribe were giddy from their latest victory and quickly got down to making a cheeky honey sambo as they surveyed the loot. The tribe then went for a swim, with Emmett assuring them that he was never at risk of losing the challenge for them despite everyone feeling nervous about the way Joey tackled him mid-taunt. Janelle meanwhile was the only one that rightly wasn’t having any of it, given his egocentric displays can cost everyone in the tribe. We then finally learnt more about Janelle, who is a hard working cleaner and highly competitive hockey player and well, she is now my new Queen. She then aired her frustrations with Benny and sweet Gerald, suggesting that Emmett, Gavin and Simon have banded together and they all need to watch out so they don’t find their footing and take over. Which is 100% correct.

Over at camp Brains, the tribe were reading George for offering to battle it out against AFL legend player, with Hayley pointing out that volunteering at the last minute when you know you can’t win isn’t helpful and just designed to cause disharmony. And if that isn’t what he wanted, that is what he got as Baden was well and truly sick of him and ready to take him out. George meanwhile was talking about how much quicker than Gavin he would have been in front of Baden, fed-up Baden point blank asked what his strategy was in doing what he did and how he believed he would actually beat Gavin. And when George wouldn’t back down, they started to argue back and forth with Baden ultimately telling him that they need to make decisions for the team and can’t get offended about it. When George countered that they need to end their losing streak, Baden pointed out that losing earlier is certainly not going to help the situation.

And oh was George feeling on the outs after being read for filth.

We pressed pause on the drama as Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would swim out to a deck, climb over some obstacles, release some balls, release a key and then solve a hanging puzzle. With George and Wai taking the hero role of the puzzle, meaning he just might get the chance to prove himself. Brawn obviously got out to an early lead, but given Simon was in budgie smugglers, I am now rooting for them, so yay team! Again, this immediately jinxed them as the Brains caught up and both tribes were neck and neck all the way through the physical part. The Brains started to pull away and quickly released their key and gave them a slight advantage as they headed into the puzzle. Not that they needed though, given Wai took charge and George trusted his gut, proving to be a winning combination as they went piece by piece and quickly scored the win for the Brains. 

And joyfully lapped up the praise of their tribe, which was honestly as heartwarming as the end of any Lifetime movie.

Back at camp the Brains were far less joyous with Big D feeling like the target would be on his back given he and Janelle lost the puzzle. Knowing that, he went hard on throwing Janelle’s name out to anyone and everyone that would listen. She too was feeling nervous, particularly because she saw Daini going person to person and whispering. As such, she was fired up and pulled Dani, Benny and Flick aside to further highlight the growing trio of Gavin, Simon and Emmett to knock them down a peg and, you know, stop them from finding their feet. Benny and Flick appeared to be all in on the Emmett vote, leaving Janelle to chat to the other girls and rally them around.

Simon noticed the girls whispering quietly and as such, he, Emmett and Gavin decided to pivot and pull the numbers together to get rid of Shannon instead. For some reason I’m not 100% sure of. As such, the boys decided that they should align with Dani, Chelsea and Flick to guarantee the strongest tribe members gain the numbers. This made Flick feel well and truly in the middle, not wanting to get rid of strength just yet but also not wanting to burn her bridges with Shannon, making her contemplate Janelle as the only other option in her mind.

So to summarise, Dani nervous, suggested Janelle. Janelle nervous, suggested Emmett. Emmett threatened, suggested Shannon. And then Flick circled back to Janelle.

At tribal council Simon was disappointed by their first loss, though ready to deal with the consequences. Which as we know, is never a good thing to say openly. Daini meanwhile wished they had some more smarts amongst them and admitted his vote will be about keeping the tribe strong. Janelle meanwhile was feeling the heat after losing the challenge, with Simon quickly telling her that she said puzzles were her strength and as such, it is on her. This fired her up like a damn icon, as she defended herself and the strengths she brings to the tribe, quickly calling Emmett out for being cocky. This annoyed Emmett, who tried to defend himself but given she is absolutely right, he should be worried.

He then was really patronising as he mocked her for firing up and as such, I don’t like Emmett and would die for Janelle.

Janelle then pointed out Simon, Emmett and Gavin were already a strong trio which lead to Emmett calling it out and admitting that he knows that his name was thrown around back at camp. This led to more fighting back and forth before Jonathan dragged Flick into it, asking if she was scared of the three votes, with her admitting that yeah, it is a concern but there are nine other votes so at this stage, it isn’t that concerning. Emmett continued to be confident, Shannon admitted that the fact they can’t sit anyone out in the next challenge just changed things for her before Emmett gave a last ditch plea for everyone he trusts to stick to the plan. Basically. Flick meanwhile was focusing on sticking with the majority and guided solely by not wanting to come back to tribal council.

With that the tribe voted and despite it being far closer than anyone in the tribe expected, Janelle was narrowly, and tragically, booted from the game. And damn, you know there are going to be fireworks back at camp as the boys appeared just as shocked to see her go as she was.

As soon as Janelle arrived back at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a hug before raging over the fact that OF COURSE, the tribe votes out its oldest woman. You see, I’ve known Janelle for years and we became the best of friends as we systematically dominated the Townsville hockey scene. But that isn’t why I love her. No. I love her because I am convinced she is a time traveller, given she looks EXACTLY like my favourite barista from my favourite cafe in 2007, but as a grown-up. And, you know, I want to annoy her with my love until she admits that she is the second time-traveler to compete in Survivor after Malcolm/Jimmy Tarantino. My go to way to show my love? Whipping up a batch of Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls.

I love croissants and sausage rolls almost equally, but shamefully had never thought to combine them before. But damn, not that I have, I finally know what true joy is. Perfectly seasoned sausage and crumbly pastry? I challenge you to find a better way to dull the post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls
Serves: 12.
Inspired by these little numbers from Taste.com.au

Ingredients
500g beef mince
500g sausage mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
⅓ cup tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground sage
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
a dash of milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C and line two baking sheets.

Combine the minces, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, chilli and an egg in a bowl with a large whack of salt and pepper, and stir, scrunching with your hands until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, followed by each half into two triangles. Using about a quarter of a cup of the mixture, form into a small sausage and place against the longer end of the triangle. Whisk the remaining egg with the milk and brush the exposed parts of the pastry before rolling from the long end to the tip to form a croissant. Shaping into a half-moon, if you can be bothered. Continue the process until it’s all done.

Brush the assembled pastries with remaining egg wash and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then, you know, devour covered in a gallon of tommie sauce.


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Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Like Art before her, I’m not going to dwell too much on Scarlet. I mean, damn Ru, why you gotta have four people left in contention for the crown? It really makes my life that much more difficult.

In any event, Scarlet well and truly stormed through the competition, served killer looks and well, that pole dancing was damn impressive.

That being said, it would be remiss to not say that her well-known past performances were horrible and as a white man, it is not my place to forgive her or accept her apologies. But I do hope that she is genuine about making amends and learning from the this because the world needs growth and healing with those she hurt so stupid, racist shit just stops happening.

Which is what I told her as I sat down and slammed a plate of Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups in front of her.

Like at the end of a good night, there is nothing I love more than sweetly, sticky balls. Combining san choy bow and ramen influences, these babies are earthy, spiced and most importantly, easy. Which is what I like to hear when I’ve got sticky balls.

Enjoy!

Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli paste
225g water chestnuts, finely chopped
⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 shallots, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
⅔ cup plum sauce
100g vermicelli noodles
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
2 baby cos lettuce, leaves broken off and rinsed.

Method
Combine the mince, ginger, garlic, chilli, water chestnuts, breadcrumbs and shallots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch to combine with your hands and mix into golf-ball sized meatballs.

Heat a lug of oil in a wok over medium heat and cook the balls for five minutes or so, tossing infrequently. Add the plum sauce with a cup of water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and sticky. My two favourite descriptors.

Cook the noodles as per packet instructions and drain well to avoid any drippiness.

To assemble, divide a couple of lettuce leaves on a plate, top with noodles and meatballs and garlic with a few slices of chilli. And then, obviously, devour.


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